Throughout my encounter with music, I have heard many people taking it personally when mentioning the “beginner” units. For some reason, such gear is sometimes looked down on, which is unfortunate, since the attitude of that ilk usually lacks real foundation. When we say that certain bass amplifiers work better for those who are just starting out, we are not degrading the device by any means. We are simply trying to imply that their features are easier to navigate and, thus, useful for newbies. Either way, nobody can deny that smaller practice amps (that also happen to be perfect matches for beginners) do perform well and give you quite a few options to work with. On that note, today we are going to discuss VOX Pathfinder Bass 10, a little combo that will not take up your whole bedroom or get in the way of your normal life. It is a simple tool that reads bass accurately and translates it in the language only our ears can discern. If you are interested, stay with me and I will give you some more information about this fella.
When we talk about VOX amplifiers, one thing we can never avoid is praising their design and being fascinated by each and every model. Pathfinder Bass 10 is definitely not an exception. It is covered in leather, classic basket-weave, diamond grille cloth on the front with simple and elegant gold accents. The red control panel just adds to the fanciness and contributes to creating the luxury feel this amp proudly displays. And of course, the chassis is built with quality and durability in mind, which means it will last you through a lifetime. This tiny solid-state combo has 10 watts of power output and emits its sound through dual 5” VOX Bulldog speakers. Such parameters are perfectly enough for rehearsals and small performances in front of your friends and family. Pathfinder Bass 10 weighs just a couple of kilos and has a convenient handle, making it extremely portable. What is more, it has on-board distortion, which allows you to get a bit crazy and experiment with some crunch and girth. Surprisingly, it works amazingly with electric guitar as well, turning this tiny combo into a jack of all trades. It basically means that you save up a lot of money, space and time, which is always a good thing, am I right? And lastly, Pathfinder Bass 10 has a single input for your bass and a single output (Line Out) that can be connected to the headphones or any other device.
I have grown to love the control section of VOX amplifiers. Their chicken-head knobs make everything easier for me, since you can see where they are pointed even from far away. The red background makes it even more distinctive and wraps up the whole design beautifully. More importantly, all the controls are intuitive and pretty self-explanatory, significantly reducing the time spent on understanding what is what. Let’s continue and see, what exactly we have here.
The panel features four main knobs (Drive, Treble, Bass, Volume) and a Bright switch. Drive modifies the amount of distortion added to your original signal and takes your sound from clean to crunchy. Bright switch is located right next to it. This small button adds harmonics to the high frequencies and thickens the body of your chords. Treble attenuates or boosts the higher frequencies and saturates your tone with brightness, while Bass does the same thing for bottom-end and creates punchy lows. The Volume knob modifies the output level of the unit itself, making sure that the final outcome is even and well-balanced. Finally, the panel features the power switch that turns the device on and off. Yeah, you heard me, you will need to mess with these couple of controls until you find your perfect settings and then you can even forget about the existence of this amp.
I have so much to say about the sound of Pathfinder Bass 10 that I will ramble for pages if I do not shut myself up (but I will, I promise). For an amp that has only 10 watts and 5” speakers, this tiny fella has an amazing tone. Its cleans are well-defined and their quality is outstanding. This combo does truly accentuate the character of your bass. But it has its limitations. If you crank it up too much, you will start hearing the speaker distortion. This is pretty natural when drivers are so small, however, you should still keep this in mind. The distortion is decent if we consider the size and the purpose of the amplifier. The headphone output is really powerful, clean and well-structured and it is devoid of any noise or hum. That is probably what you will be using the most on this combo, so the fact that this output is not just shoved in there unreasonably definitely deserves a thumbs up. And as I have already mentioned, Pathfinder Bass 10 works equally well with the electric guitar. This is where the bright switch starts to work wonders. Shortly, no matter what instrument you plug in, this amplifier will get the job done in the manner that VOX requires.
Those of you, who are tired of dragging ginormous amplifiers even for practices or those, who are just learning how to treat their bass, should look no further, since Pathfinder Bass 10 has everything one might need. This tiny combo will alleviate your back pains while delivering the quality tone at a low price point. When an amp is affordable, durable, portable and sounds great, is there anything else we could dare to ask for? I do not think so. Get your hands on it and let VOX make life a bit easier for you. Good luck!
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